Canada Life lays off 85 employees in Winnipeg, Montreal & London, Ont

Insurance giant to replace staff by outsourcing services from Winnipeg-based telemarketing company

Dana Hatherly · CBC News Manitoba

Canadian insurance giant Canada Life is laying off dozens of employees working in three provinces.

In an emailed statement to CBC, the company confirmed Tuesday it is laying off 85 employees in its Winnipeg, Montreal and London, Ont., offices.

The insurance company cited shifting demographics and changing the way it engages with customers in its decision.

Canada Life says it’s partnering with 24-7 Intouch Solutions — a multinational telemarketing company based in Winnipeg — to offer bilingual services and longer hours.

“24-7 has the tools and infrastructure to provide longer service hours for our customers,” vice-president Diane Bezdikian said in the statement.

She added the change “will provide greater flexibility in servicing our customers in both official languages.”

When asked by CBC, a company spokesperson would not say how many employees would be laid off in each of the three affected cities.

Three life insurance companies recently came together under the Canada Life banner when Great-West Life Assurance in Winnipeg, London Life Insurance and Canada Life Assurance consolidated as part of a restructuring process.

No jobs were cut as a result of that announcement last spring.

PolicyAdvisor wants to help bring life insurance into the digital age

The excerpted article was written by Isabella Kirkwood

In its 2019 Insurance Industry Outlook, Deloitte claimed Insurtech is fundamentally changing the rules of the game, driving a new innovation ecosystem with both threats and opportunities for industry leaders.

Despite the exponential surge of connectivity and digitization, some insurance providers still hold on to outdated notions about the industry’s ability to ward off disruption.

“We are using the best of technology tools to significantly complement human expertise.”

“We are living in an age of disruption. How we engage with our customers is evolving and consumer expectations are changing,” said Don Forgeron, president and CEO of the Insurance Bureau of Canada, for a survey the group released last year. “As insurers, we need to have the ability to adapt to the rapid changes that are impacting our business.”

While these circumstances have left the industry more archaic and less agile in comparison to other financial services sectors, it has made room for Insurtech startups to target the around 30 percent of Canadians currently lacking any life insurance coverage. Enter: PolicyAdvisor, an Insurtech startup based in Toronto, which is looking to build a new kind of insurance experience. The company combines modern technology and human expertise in an effort to simplify the insurance-buying process for consumers. Most notably, the company claims it’s outperforming the traditional insurance broker.


Jiten Puri, CEO of PolicyAdvisor

PolicyAdvisor harnesses data from multiple sources, using algorithms that scan hundreds of complex insurance documents to identify the right policy match for a customer. PolicyAdvisors’ approach is markedly different from other movers and shakers in Canadian Insurtech, which generally target the business and enterprise segment.

ProNavigator, is an example, having built a natural language processing AI platform that provids insurance companies with 24/7 virtual assistants. Montreal-based Breathe Life provides life and health insurers, distribution organizations, and advisors with white-label solutions to quickly and cost-effectively onboard new clients. Finaeo, another notable Canadian Insurtech company, has created workflow platforms for insurance advisors that help with repetitive tasks.

PolicyAdvisor not only works with consumers but is also an independent insurance advisor that directly provides policies to those consumers. BetaKit spoke with PolicyAdvisor founder and CEO Jiten Puri about how he’s looking to address gaps in life insurance, and what’s on the horizon for the company.

Puri, previously worked as a banker with Morgan Stanley out of New York, looking after mergers and acquisitions in the FinTech space. He called life insurance the last vestige of financial services that has yet to see the evolution other segments have embarked on. Canadian companies like Wealthsimple, Koho, Borrowell, and formerly Planswell, have all gone after a particular consumer segment with their own technology offerings. Borrowell, for example, deals with lending, while Wealthsimple takes on investing, and Koho deals with saving and spending. Puri saw an opportunity to bring together his understanding of, and connectivity in, the financial space to innovate insurance in Canada.


Asian market helps Manulife and Sun Life in latest quarters

By Tara Deschamps


TORONTO _ Two of Canada’s largest insurance companies got lifts from the Asian market in their latest quarter.

Sun Life Financial Inc. said its overall net income surged 24 per cent to $719 million in its fourth quarter, with its Asian operations contributing $136 million, or nine per cent more than in the same period the year before.

The company also racked up $361 million in Asian insurance sales, a 44 per cent or $110-million increase compared to the same period in 2018. By contrast, insurance sales in Canada rose four per cent while U.S. sales were down four per cent.

The earnings come as Sun Life _ like many other insurers _ have been focused increasing attention on the Asian market. Sun Life recently formed a 15-year partnership with Tien Phong Commercial Bank in Vietnam, signed a distribution agreement with Nobu National Bank in Indonesia and also launched sales of sharia-based products with Bank Muamalat in the region.

Asia is highly under-penetrated for insurance so it’s really a distribution game, Neil Haynes, the company’s chief financial officer and senior vice-president of Sun Life Financial U.S.

“It’s not a pricing game in Asia, so we feel good about the profitability of our products and as the scale continues to come through, we are expecting to see this benefit of scale flowing through in our new business strain,” he said.

“Our bigger markets are Hong Kong and the Philippines and they’re both profitable markets. As we continue to build scale there in particular you would expect some of the benefits to come from there, in particular.”

Meanwhile, another Toronto-based insurance business, Manulife Financial Corp. shared that its earnings were also helped by opportunities in the continent.

The company boosted its quarterly dividend 12 per cent after it capped a stronger 2019 with double-digit growth in Asia.

Manulife said it would increase its payout by three cents per share to 28 cents, payable on or after March 19 to shareholders of record on Feb. 25. It added that it earned $1.23 billion for the three months ended Dec. 31, up from $593 million a year earlier.

Last year’s net income included a restructuring charge. Excluding one-time items, core earnings increased 10.5 per cent to $1.48 billion from $1.34 billion.

Those earnings came after Manulife launched in Vietnam and Cambodia its ManulifeMOVE program, which uses a mobile app and tracking devices to monitor how much consumers walk and offer them discounts on insurance plans based on their number of steps. It also debuted an online insurance platform in collaboration with DBS Bank for the Singapore market and enhanced its electronic claims platform in Hong Kong, Vietnam, and Japan, where it was hampered by lower new business volumes and changes to tax rules.

“Despite the headwinds in Japan…we were able to deliver a resilient five-per-cent core earnings growth in quarter four and 11 per cent for the full year,” said Anil Wadhwani, Manulife Asia’s president and chief executive on a Thursday call with analysts.

“We continue to see very strong momentum in geographies like Hong Kong…So despite some of the challenges….we’re pretty pleased with the resilient performance that we showed in Asia.”

Sun Life’s earnings equalled $1.22 per share in the three months ended Dec. 31, up from 96 cents per share or $580 million a year earlier. For the full year, its net income rose by 3.8 per cent to $2.62 billion.

Manulife earned 73 cents per diluted share up from 65 cents per share in the prior year and one cent below analyst forecasts, according to the financial markets data firm Refinitiv.

Sun Life Global Investments reduces risk rating for Sun Life Real Assets Fund

ORONTO, Feb. 13, 2020 /CNW/ – Sun Life Global Investments (Canada) Inc. (“Sun Life Global Investments,” “SLGI”) today announced a risk rating change for Sun Life Real Assets Fund. Effective immediately, the risk rating for this fund has been lowered from “medium” to “low to medium.”

In accordance with the investment risk classification methodology mandated by the Canadian Securities Administrators, Sun Life Global Investments reviews the risk ratings of its funds at least once a year, as well as when a fund undergoes a material change.

The Sun Life Real Assets Fund’s risk rating changed following an annual review that was conducted as part of Sun Life Global Investments’ ongoing fund review process. While the fund will be renamed to “Sun Life Real Assets Private Pool,” effective on or about February 26, 2020, the investment objectives and strategies of the fund remain unchanged.

About Sun Life Global Investments (Canada) Inc. 
Sun Life Global Investments is a subsidiary of Sun Life Financial Inc. It offers Canadians a diverse lineup of mutual funds and innovative portfolio solutions, empowering them to pursue their financial goals at every life stage. We bring together the strength of one of Canada’s most trusted names in financial services with some of the best asset managers from around the world to deliver a truly global investment platform. As of January 31, 2020, Sun Life Global Investments manages $29.68 billion on behalf of institutional and retail investors from coast-to-coast and is a member of the Sun Life group of companies. For more information visit or connect with us on Twitter @SLGI_Canada.

About Sun Life
Sun Life is a leading international financial services organization providing insurance, wealth and asset management solutions to individual and corporate Clients. Sun Life has operations in a number of markets worldwide, including Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Hong Kong, the Philippines, Japan, Indonesia, India, China, Australia, Singapore, Vietnam, Malaysia and Bermuda. As of December 31, 2019, Sun Life had total assets under management of $1,099 billion. For more information, please visit

Sun Life Financial Inc. trades on the Toronto (TSX), New York (NYSE) and Philippine (PSE) stock exchanges under the ticker symbol SLF.

Note to editors: All figures in Canadian dollars

Commissions, trailing commissions, management fees and expenses all may be associated with mutual fund investments. Please read the prospectus before investing. Mutual funds are not guaranteed, their values change frequently and past performance may not be repeated.

© Sun Life Global Investments (Canada) Inc., 2020. Sun Life Global Investments (Canada) Inc. is a member of the Sun Life group of companies.

Media Relations Contact:
Alexandra Locke
Manager, Corporate Communications
T. 416-408-7357

SOURCE Sun Life Global Investments (Canada) Inc.

Related Links

Canadian Premier Life Insurance Company acquiring Gerber Life Canadian insurance business

TORONTO, Feb. 13, 2020 /CNW/ – Canadian Premier Life Insurance Company (‘Canadian Premier’) announces it has signed an agreement with U.S.-based Western & Southern Financial Group (‘Western & Southern’) to purchase its block of Canadian life insurance business, marketed under the Gerber Life brand. Closing of the purchase is expected to take place in the Second Quarter, 2020, subject to regulatory approval.

“This is an exciting acquisition for Canadian Premier as we focus on growing in the Canadian marketplace,” says Canadian Premier Chief Executive Officer Suzette Huovinen. “We are invested in Canada and in pursuing opportunities that expand our footprint beyond our core group creditor insurance business. Canadian Premier is well positioned to support the diverse market need for both life and specialized protection.”

The block of business from Western & Southern includes individual life insurance policies, primarily the Grow-Up® plan, which are whole life policies geared towards children 12 years of age and under. Upon closing, the Gerber Life Canadian policies will be fully assumed by Canadian Premier.

Adds Huovinen: “Canadian Premier is committed to providing financial security to families throughout moments that matter. We look forward to welcoming a new generation of customers to Canadian Premier and providing them excellent products and services.”

About Canadian Premier
For more than 60 years, Canadian Premier has been committed to providing financial security to Canadians and their families in the face of uncertainties. Canadian Premier offers group life, accident & sickness, credit and creditor insurance solutions to a number of leading financial institutions, retailers and affinity groups. We now insure over 2 million Canadians and families coast-to-coast. Canadian Premier is wholly-owned subsidiary of Securian Financial Group. For more information visit

SOURCE Canadian Premier Life Insurance Company

Sun Life fourth quarter profits surge 24 per cent to $719 million

TORONTO _ Sun Life Financial met expectations as its net income surged 24 per cent to $719 million in the fourth quarter.

The Toronto-based insurer says it earned $1.22 per share in the three months ended Dec. 31, up from 96 cents per share or $580 million a year earlier.

Excluding one-time items, underlying earnings grew 10.3 per cent to $792 million or $1.34 per share. That compared with $718 million or $1.19 per share in the fourth quarter of 2018.

For the full year, its net income rose 3.8 per cent to $2.62 billion.

Underlying profits rose to $3.6 billion or $5.16 per share, up from $2.95 billion or $4.86 per share in 2018.

The fourth-quarter and full-year results matched analyst forecasts, according to the financial markets data firm Refinitiv.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 12, 2020.

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